Survey on Sleep Deprivation in College Students

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 Abstract

Twenty-five Georgia state university students were surveyed with a 15-question survey about their problems on sleep deprivation. Most of the respondents were African-American females between the ages 18 to 23 years old. The survey participants responded to whether they deal with sleep deprivation or not, what methods they use to deal with it, and if those methods work for them of not. The data suggest that the majority respondents sleep six to seven hours every night by the survey sample. The data suggest that taking naps during the days sometimes helps the respondents deal with them losing sleep due to other engagements.

Chapter One: Overview

Sleep deficiency is a common public health problem in the United States. College Students are one of the most sleep deprived populations. Research at Brown University has found that approximately 11% of students reported good sleep, while 73% reported sleep problems. 18% of college men and 30% of college women report having suffered from insomnia in the past 3 months. (2016, Campusmindworks.com) Lack of sleep can cause you to forget things, and can impair your ability to learn. Sleep deprivations is a condition that occurs when you don’t get enough sleep. Sleeping is a basic human need, like eating, drinking, and breathing.

Like these other needs, sleeping is a vital part of the foundation for good health and well-being throughout your lifetime. Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity and a greater risk at death. People in all age groups report not getting enough sleep, and is also linked to other health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. It is also associated with increased risk of injury in teens, and children too.

Driver sleepiness that is not related to alcohol, is responsible for serious car crash injuries and death. But in the elderly, sleep deficiency might be linked to an increased risk of falls and broken bones. (2012, nhlbi.nih.gov) Your ability to function well and feel well while you’re awake depends on whether you’re getting enough total sleep of each type of sleep. It also depends on whether you’re sleeping at a time when your body is prepared and ready to sleep if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are sleeping at the wrong times, or have poor quality sleep, you’ll likely feel very tired during the day, or you may not feel refreshed and alert when you wake up. (2012, nhlbi.nih.gov) This paper will survey two-year college students on their experience with sleep deprivation, what strategies they do to deal with it, and if those strategies they use are working for them.  

Chapter Two: Review of Literature

In 1992-1993 the Congressionally appointed National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, chaired by Dr. William C. Dement, has determined the extent striking findings of the Commission’s report is a startling lack of information about sleep disorders among general practitioners. The lack of information has resulted in misdiagnoses and mistreatments of patients estimated in the millions, very often in cases where a little knowledge and the right treatment might have worked wonders. (Stanford.edu) In 1894, Russian scientist Marie de Manaceine started experimenting on puppies to test the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain. The outcome was unexpected in that all the 10 test subjects died. (2017, Sleepjunkies.com)

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture that goes back a long way. An Italian lawyer, “Hippolytus de Marseillaise” is credited with being a pioneer, adding sleep to the arsenal of the Catholic Inquisition. The idea soon gained widespread acceptance. The globalization of this phenomenon was demonstrated by revelations owns in 2008 that a study of “Chinese Community techniques” was being used as training material for interrogators based at Guantanamo Bay.  In 1930, the former Soviet Union, during the Stalin era, established the Gulag, a network of forced labor camp, to preserve the functions of the states system. Approximately 14 million detainees passed through the camps, which were documented in a first-hand account by Nobel Prize winning author Alessandro Solzhenitsyn. (2017, Sleepjunkies.com)

The US interrogators used multiple tactics to keep their prisoners awake. Operation Sandman, also known as the “frequent flyer” program involved moving prisoners form cell to cell every hour or two. “Monstering” was the term interrogators used in Afghanistan to play a game of “who could last the longest” between prisoner and interrogators. Another common and often bizarre technique was that everything from hard rock to Sesame Street at deafening levels, was designed to drive them crazy. Sleep deprivation was often combined with shackling. The prisoner would be chained up in either a standing of horizontal position or sometimes in a chair, for up to 11 days at a time to prevent to the detainee from falling asleep. (2017, sleepjunkies.com)

Experiments in total sleep deprivation produce startling, regrettable results. Take the case of Peter Tripp, a New York disc jockey who stayed awake for 201 hours broadcasting, as a publicity stunt. Tripp performed this feat first in a glass booth in Times Square, then a hotel room with laboratory equipment monitored by medical personnel. The longer Tripp went without sleep, the more medical assistance he required, because his brain gradually gave way under the strain. In three days, he developed inappropriate affect, or incongruous emotional reactions (laughing, anger) that didn’t match the stimuli producing them. The next day, Tripp began to hallucinate, which soon progressed to full-blown paranoid psychosis. (Fallingasleep.net)

Sleep researchers are interested in studying sleep restriction, measuring what happens to your brain and body when you get some, but not enough sleep. These studies focus on either mental disruption or measurable physical changes, like altered hormone or neurotransmitter levels. Sleep restriction studies have the potential to explain the wide range of symptoms observed in sleep deprivation patients, and quantify the health effects of what has become the common practice of sleeping too little. Two well-known studies of restricted sleep, conducted concurrently and designed to complement each other in terms of data gathered, gave the medical world a comprehensive picture of what happens if subject sleep anywhere from three to nine hours per night. In considering those numbers, bear in mind Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep per night during the week. Both studies used the same performance yardstick, a test called the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) which measures reaction time during periods of pressing the space bar in response to a changing display on a computer monitor. The PVT is easy to do successfully for the well-rested, and is considered a predictor of workplace functioning. (fallingasleep.net)

Subjects sleeping eight of nine hours did consistently good work in the PVT, showing no changes as the studies went on. But the other groups, even the seven-hour sleepers, not only performed less well to begin with, but deteriorated in competence as the studies progressed. The effects were marked, in no way subtle, and the cognitive deficits induced by lack of sleep were serious enough that they would be noticeable on a day-to-day basis. The available research states there are a few people who can sleep five hours or less each night, and there are others at the opposite end of the distribution who need nine to ten hours of sleep. But the eight-hour mark in the curve is where most human beings must fall in order to turn is a good performance, and too few of us currently achieve that standard. (fallingasleep.net)

Chapter Three: Methodology

The survey of sleep deprivation consists of 15 questions. The first three questions are demographic questions. They are age, gender, and ethnic background. The remaining 12 questions are in multiple format response.

The data for the survey will be gathered from surveying students from Georgia State University. The survey instrument will be issued to the students between the hours of 11AM to 1AM on Tuesday and Thursday. Twenty-five instruments will be issued. The surveyor will provide pencils and randomly ask each third person to complete a survey instrument. The surveyor will wait while the respondents complete the instruments and return it to the surveyor. This process will continue until all 25 instruments have been completed. All data will be tabulated using descriptive statistics.

Chapter Four: Results

4.1: Age of Respondents

As indicated in the table 4.1, 14 (56%) of the respondents were between 18-20 years of age, 10 (40%) of respondents were between 20-23 years of age, one (4%) of the respondent were between 24-29, and zero of the respondents were age 30 and above. The data suggest the majority (56%) of the respondents were between 18-20 years of age.

Table 4.2: Gender Respondents

As indicated in the table 4.2, 15 (60%) of the respondents were female, 10 (40%) of the respondents were males. The data suggests that the majority (60%) of the respondents were female.

Table 4.3: Ethnic Background of Respondents

As indicated in table 4.3, 19 (76%) of the respondents were African American, two (8%) of the respondents were Asian American, two (8%) of the respondents were European American, zero of the respondents were Hispanics, and two (8%) of the respondents were in the other category. The data suggest that the majority of the respondents were African American.

Table 4.4: On an average school night in college, I am most likely to sleep.

As indicated in the table 4.4, 10 (20%) of respondents sleep 4 to 5 hours on an average college night,12(48.0) of the respondents sleep 6 to 7 hours on a college night, three (12%) of the respondents sleep 8 to 9 hours on a college night, zero of the respondents sleep 10 or more hours on a college night. The data above states that (88%) of the majority only sleep 4 to 7 hours on an average college night.

Table 4.5: I am most likely to ____ before bed.

As indicated in the table 4.5, three (12) of the respondents watch television before going to bed, three (12%) of the respondents talk on the phone before going to bed, two (8.0) of the respondents eat a snack before going to bed, 14 (56.0) of the respondents use the computer of electronic devices before going to sleep. According to the data above, the majority (56%)of the respondents use the computer of electronic devices before going to bed.

Table 4.6: I normally make up for sleep loss with caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drink etc.)

As indicated in table 4.6, four (16%) of the respondents frequently make up for sleep loss with caffeine, six (24.0) of the respondents sometimes use caffeine to make up for sleep, five (20%) of the respondents seldom use caffeine to make up for sleep, 10 (40%) of the respondents never use caffeine to make up for sleep loss. The data suggest that the majority (60%) of the respondents drink caffeine very rarely and never drink caffeine to make up for sleep.

Table 4.7: Which of the following causes you to lose sleep?

As indicated in table 4.7, four (7.0) of the respondents says that video games causes them to lose sleep, eight (14.0) of the respondents said that socializing with friends causes them to lose sleep, one (1.7) of the respondents says that dealing with anxiety causes them to lose sleep, zero of the respondents deal with small children causes them to lose sleep, nine (15.7) of the respondents said that work causes them to lose sleep, nine (15.7) of the respondents said the Internet causes them to lose sleep, 16 (28.0) of the respondents said that college assignments and studying causes them to lose sleep, two (3.5) of the respondents said that depression causes them to lose sleep, two (3.5) of the respondents said that partying causes them to lose sleep, one (1.7) of the respondents said that they deal with sleep disorder which causes them to lose sleep, one (1.7) of the respondents said that disruptive house mates causes them to lose sleep. Three (5.2) of the respondents said that family commitments cause them to lose sleep, one (1.7) of the respondents said that other reasons cause them to lose sleep. The data suggest that the majority (%) tend to lose sleep because of college assignments and studying, work and being on the internet.

Table 4.8: after a night of very little sleep, you are likely to experience the following.

As indicated In the table 4.8, nine (13.8) of the respondents have difficulty concentrating after a night of very little sleep, seven (10.7) of the respondents have mood swings after a night of very little sleep, 10 (15.3) of the respondents suffer from irritability after a night of very little sleep, five (7.6) of the respondents get headaches after a night of very little sleep, 15 (23.0) of respondents suffer from lack of motivation after a night of very little sleep, seven (10.7) of the respondents suffer from absentmindedness, 12 (18.4) of the respondents have an increased likelihood of dozing off during the day. The data suggest that the majority (55.2%) deal with lack of motivation, increased likelihood of dozing off during the day, and difficulty concentrating after a night of very little sleep.

Table 4.9: I take naps during the day.

As indicated in table 4.9, six (24.0) of the respondents frequently take naps during the day, four (16.0) of the respondents sometimes take naps during the day, 15 (60.0) of the respondents seldom take naps during the day, zero of the respondents never take naps during the day. The data suggest that the majority (60%) of the respondents seldom take naps during the day.

Table 4.10: My school work load does not impact my ability to feel well rested.

As indicated in the table 4.10, zero of the respondents strongly agree that their work load does not impact their ability to feel well rested, two (8.0) of the respondents agree that their school work load does not impact them, eight (32.0) of the respondents feel neutral about their school work load impacting them, 11 (44.0) of the respondents disagree that their school work load does not impact them to feel well rested, four (16.0) of the respondents strongly disagree that their school work load does not impact them. The data suggest that the majority (76%) of the respondents disagree and feel neutral about their workloads impacting their ability to feel well rested.

Table 4.11: How often do you take sleep-aid medications?

As indicated in the table 4.11, zero of the respondents frequently take sleep-aid medication, one (4.0) of the respondents sometimes take sleep-aid medications, five (20.0) of the respondents seldom take sleep-aid medications, 19 (76.0) of the respondents never take sleep-aid medications. The data suggest that the majority (76%) never take sleep-aid medication.

Table 4.12: Due to lack of sleep, I am unable to focus during exams/lecture.

As indicated in table 4.12, three (12.0) of the respondents strongly agree that due to lack of sleep they are unable to focus on exams or lectures, seven (28.0) of the respondents agree that due to lack of sleep they are unable to focus, nine (36.0) of the respondents feel neutral to them having lack of sleep, three (12.0) of the respondents disagree that the lack of sleep makes them unable to focus during exams, three (12.0) of the respondents strongly disagree that the lack of sleep makes them unable to focus during exams or lectures. The data suggest that the majority (64%) of the respondents agree and are neutral that lack of sleep makes them unable to focus on exams and lectures.

Table 4.13: I often find myself cramming for exams.

As indicated on the table 4.13, eight (32.0) of the respondents frequently find themselves cramming for exams, nine (36.0) of the respondents find themselves sometimes cramming for exams, seven (28.0) of the respondents find themselves cramming for exams, one (4.0) of the respondents never find themselves cramming for exams. The data suggest that the majority (68%) of the respondents frequently and sometimes find themselves cramming for exams.

Table 4.14: I exercise regularly

As indicated in the table 4.14, five (20.0) of the respondents frequently exercise regularly, 12 (48.0) of respondents sometimes exercise regularly, five (20.0) of the respondents seldom exercise regularly, three (12.0) of the respondents never exercise. The data suggest that the majority (68%) sometimes, frequently and seldom exercise regularly.

Table 4.15: How do you score on a test after staying up all night.

As indicated in the 4.15, zero of the respondents score 0%-25% on a test after staying up all night, four (16.0) of the respondents score 26%-50% on a test after staying up all night, 10 (40.0) of the respondents score 51%-75% on a test after staying up all night, 11 (44.0) of the respondents score 76%-100% on a test after staying up all night. The data suggest that the majority (84%) of the respondents score 51% to 100% on a test after staying up all night.

Chapter Five: Summary and Discussion

Two-year college students were surveyed about if they deal with sleep deprivation and how. This survey sought to find out the opinions of survey participants about sleep deprivation, if they deal with sleep deprivation, how and what methods they use to deal with it, and if those methods work for them.

The typical respondent was African-American females that were between the ages of 18 and 23. when asked how many hours they sleep on a typical school night, the majority of respondents reported they would sleep six to seven hours a night.

This survey had three inquires. The first inquiry focused on if the students deal with sleep deprivation. The data suggest that the majority of the respondents do deal with sleep deprivation.

The second inquiry sought to find out how the respondents deal with losing sleep. The data suggest that the majority of the respondents take naps, or make up from sleep loss with caffeine.

The third inquiry sought to find out if the methods the respondents are taking and improving their performance or was it hurting their performance. The data suggest that for the majority, those methods are not really improving their performance.

There were no difficulties in conducting this experiment. The process went by smoothly.

In the future, I would recommend going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day to try and keep the same schedule because changing the times can disrupt your bodies sleep and wake cycle. Avoid nicotine and caffeine because they are stimulants that can interfere with sleep. Use relaxation techniques of take a hot bath before bed and also try not to eat heavy or large meals right before bed.

References

  • A Brief History of Sleep Deprivation and Torture. (2016, August 20). Retrieved April 12, 2017.   from https://sleepjunkies.com/features/sleep-deprivation-and-torture-a-brief-history/
  • D. (n.d.). A Brief History of Sleep Research. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://web.stanford.edu/~dement/history.html
  • Sleep Deprivation. (2017). Retrieved April 10, 2017. From http://fallingasleep.net/deprivation
  • Sleep. (2016). Retrieved April 10, 2017, fromhttp://campusmindworks.org/students/selfcare/sleep.asp
  • What are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency? (2010, February 22). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.health/health-topics/topics/sdd/

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